​Key Govt focus as Internet of Things network launches in Wellington

“The opportunities and benefits from the Internet of Things are beginning to be better appreciated..."

A new commercial wireless network to carry data to and from sensors and other connected objects across the Internet of Things has been launched in Wellington, with a key focus on government and businesses.

Starting with the capital, the company behind the network, KotahiNet, aims to eventually roll out the purpose-built network around the country.

KotahiNet founder Vikram Kumar says the network provides a platform for businesses and government to enable smart services, products and innovation, citing examples such as weather monitoring to boost olive production and monitoring energy consumption in new clean technology.

“The opportunities and benefits from the Internet of Things are beginning to be better appreciated - the global wave of innovation is coming,” Kumar says.

Kumar says KotahiNet offers connectivity for devices that run on low power (5-10 years battery life), over a long range (3km urban or 20 km rural) and with carrier grade security (tthree layers of encryption), in a complementary form to existing connectivity choices such as cellular and Wi-Fi.

“Our point of difference is we provide carrier-grade reliability and service level agreements, so that business and government can build critical smart services across New Zealand knowing that transporting data securely and economically is solved,” Kumar adds.

Vikram Kumar - Founder, KotahiNet
Vikram Kumar - Founder, KotahiNet

Following the launch, Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says the Council’s Smart Capital digital strategy work is “paying off” with environmental, social and business opportunities and global recognition.

“It is exciting to see more technology being deployed and support for the collaboration that makes it possible,” Mayer Wade-Brown adds.

In addition, WREDA CEO Chris Whelan says the Wellington environment is “ideally situated” and served to function as a “Living Lab” for future-focused applications.

“We are compact, creative, collaborative and now even better connected,” he explains.

“With Wellington being the launch pad for such products, we have the opportunity to demonstrate and explore the possibilities for a much wider range of potential solutions that can benefit the wider Wellington region and ultimately the whole of New Zealand.”

As well the network itself, Kumar says KotahiNet also now offers data as a service, where the customer is also provided with sensors and only needs to focus on the software.

KotahiNet uses a global wireless specification called LoRaWAN - this open source technology has been developed by an alliance of technology firms including Semtech, IBM and Cisco.

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